- 1 What is car tax?
- 2 How much is my car tax?
- 3 How do I pay my car tax?
- 4 What happens if I drive without tax?
- 5 Are there any circumstances where I don’t have to pay road tax?
- 6 How do I use the road tax calculator?
- 7 How is the cost of my car tax worked out?
What is car tax?
Car tax, also known as vehicle excise duty (VED) or road tax, is a tax that is levied on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom. The amount of tax you pay depends on the emissions your vehicle produces and its fuel type.
The amount of VED you pay is also affected by the date your vehicle was first registered. For example, cars registered before 1 March 2001 are taxed according to their engine size, while those registered after that date are taxed according to their emissions.
Fuel type also affects the amount of VED you pay. For example, diesel cars are subject to a surcharge of £20 on their annual tax bill.
If you’re thinking of buying a new car, it’s important to factor in the cost of VED. Use our calculator to work out how much tax you’ll need to pay.
How much is my car tax?
The amount of car tax you pay depends on a number of factors, including the CO2 emissions of your vehicle and when it was first registered.
To calculate how much VED you’ll need to pay, enter your car’s registration number into our car tax calculator.
You can also find out how much VED you’ll need to pay by looking up your car in the government’s vehicle excise duty (VED) database.
How do I pay my car tax?
You can pay your car tax online, by phone or at a post office. You’ll need to have your Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C) to hand when you make the payment.
If you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle, you’ll get a car tax renewal reminder (V11) through the post about four weeks before your car tax is due. This will tell you how much you need to pay and how to make the payment.
If you don’t receive a reminder or your circumstances have changed since you got your last reminder (for example, you no longer own the vehicle or it’s off the road), you’ll need to contact the DVLA.
You can also spread the cost of your car tax by Direct Debit. You can set up a Direct Debit online or when you get a car tax renewal reminder. If you pay by Direct Debit, you’ll automatically get a reminder before your car tax is due.
What happens if I drive without tax?
If you’re caught driving a vehicle without road tax, you’ll be fined. The amount of the fine depends on the vehicle and where you were caught.
You may also be clamped or have your vehicle towed away. If this happens, you’ll have to pay a release fee as well as the outstanding car tax.
It’s also worth noting that if you don’t pay your car tax, you won’t be covered by vehicle insurance. This means that if you’re involved in an accident, you could be liable for damages.
Are there any circumstances where I don’t have to pay road tax?
There are a few circumstances where you may be exempt from paying road tax. These include:
- If your vehicle is registered as being off the road (SORN)
- If your vehicle is used by a disabled person and has been adapted for their use
- If your vehicle is powered by an electric motor and has CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km
- If your vehicle is a classic car that was built before 1 January 1973
How do I use the road tax calculator?
Enter your car’s registration number into the road tax calculator. We’ll then use the DVLA’s database to find out all the relevant information about your vehicle, including its engine size, fuel type and emissions level.
Once we have this information, we’ll tell you how much road tax you need to pay for the current tax year. If you’re looking for road tax prices for a different tax year, you can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to select the year you’re interested in.
If your vehicle is eligible for a discount or exemption, we’ll show you how much you could save on your annual road tax bill.
How is the cost of my car tax worked out?
As previously referenced, the cost of taxing your vehicle depends on a number of influencing factors. To show how these aspects impact the price of your tax, it’s best to categorise the below guidance by the vehicle’s age. Therefore, the information below articulates how the tax calculation is generated dependent on when the car was registered:
Vehicles registered on, or after, 1st April 2017
If you’ve purchased a relatively new car, manufactured in the last five years, your first year of paying car tax is reliant on the level of CO2 emissions the vehicle produces. The higher the emissions, the more expensive the tax payment due.
However, the cost also depends on the fuel type of your car. There are three classifications that are used to determine a vehicle’s fuel type. These are as follows: diesel cars that meet RDE2 standard and petrol cars, all other diesel vehicles, and alternative fuel cars. Each fuel type has specific ‘TC’ codes for abbreviation purposes. Diesel cars are referenced as TC49 (regardless of whether there RDET2 compliant or otherwise). Petrol cars operate under TC48, and alternative fuel cars are known as TC59’s.
Real Driving Emissions Testing, or RDET2, was introduced in September 2017. From this date onwards, any newly constructed diesel car must pass this strict assessment. The test analyses the level of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) the vehicle releases. It determines that diesel cars must not express more than 0.080g NOx per km. Should the vehicle fail, it would not be eligible for road use. Diesel cars produced prior to September 2017 were not liable to this testing, and therefore likely to have emissions exceeding the aforementioned benchmark. Therefore, the price to tax these types of vehicles is higher.
The fuel type of the car is cross-referenced with its emissions production, and a cost calculated accordingly. The cheapest vehicles to tax are those that utilize alternative fuels (such as electronic vehicles- EVs), followed by petrol and RDET2 compliant diesel cars, and then finally all other diesel vehicles.
Post first-year payment adjustments
After the first annual tax cycle has been completed, the price of Vehicle Excise Duty becomes more standardised. All petrol or diesel vehicles pay £165 per annum, whilst EV owners are not required to pay anything.
However, should your car have a list price of over £40,000, you’ll need to pay an additional sum. This extra charge is scheduled for five years, at the end of which you’ll be integrated into the pay arrangement referenced above. This additional charge is levied at £355. Therefore, if you own a diesel vehicle worth over £40,000, you’ll be expected to pay £520 for the five years succeeding your initial year of ownership. Clearly, this is a sizeable increase on the £165 paid by those in more mature diesel vehicles. Another thing to consider when making a car purchase!
Vehicles registered on, or after, March 1st 2001, but before 1st April 2017
Again, the charge for these cars is aligned to CO2 emissions, but the calculation does not have the added complexity of the fuel type factor. Therefore, if your vehicle was registered between these dates, all you need to consider is your CO2 release. The cost of tax is less expensive for these cars than the newer vehicles referenced in the previous section.
Vehicles registered before 1st March 2001
Cars produced prior to 2001 are assessed for tax based on their engine size. Any vehicle with an engine less powerful than 1549CC’s has a tax rate of £180 per annum. Car owners with vehicles above this threshold will need to pay £295 each year.
Vehicles over forty years old are not subject to road tax requirements.